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Healthy SF Roundup: Final Numbers, Loopholes and More

As we all know, the last day of April, this past Wednesday, was the deadline for San Francisco businesses to comply with the Healthy SF mandate. While the debate about surcharges rages on and the Golden Gate Restaurant Association fights the City in the courts (the ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is still pending), restaurants had to comply with the ordinance or face fines. This morning, some final numbers were released, as well as plenty of very interesting tidbits, politicking, musings and rumors about the program, so here's a roundup of the buzz:

1) 734 businesses signed up for the Healthy SF program, but GGRA honcho Kevin Westlye proclaimed that none were restaurants: "The head of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which has taken the lead in opposing the requirement, said he does not know of any restaurants that signed up with the city program. Instead, they offered employees other health benefits that satisfy the city law." [Chron]

2) In response to #1, our sources indicate that while there were indeed relatively few restaurants that signed up, there are definitely restaurants on the list, including big names like Boulevard, Bong Su and Morton's. Most restaurants did, however, put the mandated spending into employee health care reimbursement accounts as Westlye said. [EaterWire]

3) The Examiner, meanwhile, finds a pretty noticeable loophole, not in the program itself, but in its enforcement: "Local corporations and businesses that fail to comply with a newly adopted law requiring them to pay a mandated amount of money toward the health insurance of their employees will not be held accountable unless someone complains or until a required compliance report is filed with The City at the end of the year ... There are two ways to discover noncompliance: Companies will be required to file an annual report at the end of the year indicating their form of compliance or employees can file complaints with the office if they are not being covered." [SFE]

4) And finally, let's hit on the topic most directly relevant to the general dining public: the surcharges. Supervisor Tom Ammiano isn't the only local politician not taking kindly to the health care taxes being implemented by many restaurants. According to an inside source, Mayor Gavin Newsom isn't happy with the surcharges either. Rumor has it that, after noticing/experiencing surcharges, his office followed up as to whether several restaurants—Zuni Cafe and Bar Bambino, to name two—are actually complying with the Healthy SF ordinance. [EaterWire, earlier]